Gagging Young Voices: The Unreasonable Nature of Our Digital Laws

Zillur Rahman | 05 October 2022
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Social media is a leviathan that all modern governments are struggling with. The increasing internet access in Bangladesh has allowed almost everyone to throw their two cents into the court of public opinion. Governments understand the enormous power of social media quite well. It can also be argued that the quality of political discourse online has declined dramatically in terms of usefulness and civility. There can undoubtedly exist social media posts that are made with the intent and/or the potential to harm national security, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, cause defamation, or incite offence. It is up to the government to decide on reasonable restrictions imposed by law to handle these situations. This is, in essence, the term set in Article 39(2) of the constitution.

However, the key words here are "reasonable restrictions." When talking about the effects of the Digital Security Act (DSA) and the potential impact of the upcoming data protection legislation, it is vital to ensure that the regulations imposed on freedom of expression by these laws remain reasonable. Indeed, it is the current unreasonable nature of the DSA that is being challenged when legal scholars and experts speak out against the overreaching power given to law enforcement agencies through this law.

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Zillur Rahman is the Executive Director of Center for Governance Studies.

This article was originally published on The Daily Star.
Views in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect CGS policy.